UK students undertaking a year abroad are entitled to the normal student funding package (Tuition fee loan, Maintenance Loan and Maintenance Grants). You will also receive a higher rate of Maintenance Loan known as the ‘away rate’. You should apply for this funding the same way as in previous years, via the relevant funding body for your region. Up to date advice and guidance for students from England relating to year abroad finance is available here via Gov.uk. Similar advice and guidance is provided directly by the funding bodies for students from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
If your tuition fee is usually paid by the Student Loan Company you should apply as usual for your year abroad. Please ensure that you apply promptly to avoid any delays later in the year.
If you are studying at one or more overseas universities for the full academic year, you may also be entitled to a higher rate of maintenance loan or grant.
You may be eligible for a maintenance loan or grant for your year abroad even if you have not been for the first two years of your study.
You must be studying at an overseas institution or on an overseas work placement in an Erasmus year in order to qualify for the overseas rate of maintenance loan or grant.
If you will be on a work placement outside the Erasmus scheme, you will receive the same as a student on work placement in the United Kingdom and this is likely to be less than you have had for your previous years of study.
If you do qualify for the overseas rate of maintenance loan or grant you can also apply for a Travel Grant through the Student Loans Company.
This can help with travel to and from your host university, with extra health insurance costs, and with local travel to and from the university once you are on your year abroad.
Your eligibility for all loans and grants will depend on your personal circumstances and you will need to complete your student finance application online to be assessed for tuition fee and maintenance loans or grants from the student loans company. If you have any queries about your maintinance or tuition fee payments, including queries about details on their application forms you will need to contact your funding agency directly. No University of Birmingham staff have access to your student loan application.
Advice for your application
When you update your details on your student finance application, you will need to make sure that you;
Update your fee amount to show what you will be asked to pay for your year abroad, even if this is £0.
Complete the “Where will you be?” section which then lets you indicate what you will be doing on your year abroad.
You will need to select “Study Abroad” if your placement is at a University overseas.
You will only need to select “Placement in the UK or Abroad” if your placement is work related. This applies even if your work placement is covered by the Erasmus scheme.
Teaching Assistants - the guidance notes online state: “Do not count periods of teaching practice as a placement, so if you are studying an ITT course, tick University or College.”.
This does not apply if you are on a placement as a teaching assistant abroad.
This only applies to those on teacher training programmes as their main programme (i.e. a B.Ed. or a BA / BSc with Qualified Teacher Status). If you are on a placement as a teaching assistant, you will need to select “Placement in the UK or Abroad”
Make sure that you read all the questions very carefully and answer yes if you are asked if you have to go abroad for the majority of any term as part of your course.
Complete details of your placement in the sections provided on the online application.
When asked about payment for your placement, please be aware: you are only counted as being paid for your placement if it is work related, you are not studying at a University, and if you are receiving a wage or salary from your placement company. Any Erasmus grant monies are not classed as being paid for your placement. Any reimbursement for out of pocket expenses by your placement company are not classed as being paid for your placement.
Once you have completed your online application, you will be asked for confirmation of your year abroad details. The Taught Student Administration team will send out a statement letter for you as evidence once your placement details are finalised in about April or May of your second year.
If you are sent a course abroad form to be completed instead of or as well as this statement letter, the Taught Student Administration team will be able sign that once your placement details have been finalised.
Student Hardship Fund (SHF)
The Student Hardship Fund (SHF) is provided by the University to help students who are experiencing genuine and unavoidable financial difficulties and are struggling with their living costs. The SHF is a discretionary grant, offering support of up to £2,500 in an academic year which does not need to be paid back.
For more information visit Student Hardship Fund.
Students planning a year abroad in an EU country are entitled to an Erasmus Grant from the British Council. The amount available varies each year and is dependent upon where you go and whether you are working or studying. The Outgoing Erasmus Co-ordinator will advise you of how much money you are eligible for prior to you beginning your placement. For more information please visit the British Council Website.
Students are advised that the purpose of an Erasmus grant is to assist with the additional costs of undertaking an exchange. This means the money received is designed to supplement rather than replace your usual source of maintenance support.
Grants are paid in two instalments into the bank account you have nominated. The first instalment is paid in December and the second instalment is paid after you have finished your placement. Payments are made in pounds sterling.
The money can be paid into either your UK bank account or an account you have opened in your host country. Payments made into a Euro denominated account may incur additional charges.
Exchange students who are in receipt of US federal or private student loans should note that the loans must be processed by the home university in the United States, not by the University of Birmingham. This also applies to GI Bill funding. Study abroad students who are paying fees to the University of Birmingham will usually have their loans processed by the home university, but students who do not remain registered with their university in the United States during the period away may have difficulty with that. For further help and advice please visit our Fees and Funding page and Loans for International Students.